It has been a full month since that night at the Ice Bar. 31 days that Max's card had been burning a hole in Kalila's snakeskin MK wallet. She had dreamed of his intense brown eyes and very handsome face more than once. But, she wasn't one to start something new without ending something old. She was finally free from the ridiculousness of her relationship with Zachary. It took much longer to end the relationship then she hoped. Zachary had proved to be stubborn and persistent. But, she was over not being appreciated and being taken for granted. The breakup did not take as much out of her as she thought. She realized she didn't love Zach. He was Mr' Right...on paper. He was successful in his own right, mature, intelligent and funny. But, there was something missing. She had known that for a while. She was trying to force it with him. Mainly because she had a mother who thought she was too old to not be married. She liked Zach and enjoyed his company but he was merely a placeholder for the right one. He took it harder than she expected. She was sorry about that. But, the reality is, he caused the breakup by his behavior. She was not the type of woman that was used to playing the backburner in a relationship. That got old quick. The relationship lasted less than a year. Now, she was single and had one thing on her mind: getting to know Max better. Because in one conversation, she felt more at ease with him. It was time to do something about these feelings.
"I should just stop by the bar," she thought. "But, I need to call and make sure Max is there." Kalila picks up her cell and makes the call. The phone rings and a bubbly woman answers "Hello. This is the Ice Bar. How can I help you?" "Hi, I'd like to speak to the owner, Max, please?" Kalila says. "I'll transfer you. Please hold." Kalila holds her breath while waiting. "I'm sorry but Max is dealing with deliveries at the moment. Can I take a message?" "No message. Thanks," she replied. She ends the call while crossing the room to her walk-in closet. "I need a 'WOW' outfit for this," she says. She sifts through hanger after hanger mentally rejecting all of it. "This is crazy. A closet full of clothes I love and I cannot find one thing to wear?!" Her hand stops on the dress. It's a cobalt blue peplum Carolina Herrera dress she purchased on a whim months ago. It has never been worn. "This is it!" she yells. From there, everything just fell in place. Leopard print Louboutin's, gold bangles and simple diamond studs would complete the look. Opening her lingerie drawer, she already knew what she had to wear. It was her Agent Provocateur Zsa-Zsa bra set. It was her fave. It made her girls just right. She slipped it on as well as her shoes. She walks into the bathroom to do her makeup. "Light and natural is the way to go tonight," she thinks. Kalila finishes her face with MAC Up The Amp lipstick. Checking the time, she runs to slip her dress on. She grabs her leopard MK clutch and checks her appearance in the mirror in her living room on her way out the door.
The Ice Bar was half full which was normal on a Thursday night. Standing in front of the upstairs office window was Max. He was dressed in a pair of charcoal grey slacks and black polo shirt. The brother was clean all the way down to his black Cole Haan Lenox Hill Split Oxfords. He didn't know how many nights he had spent in this exact spot hoping that she would walk back in. She was Kalila, a customer he couldn't forget. He had been kicking himself for weeks for not getting her number that night. His brother Bryce was also giving him the blues about his major slip up. He just knew she would call. But, she never did. It had been one long month for Max. "I've got to stop waiting for her to show up," he thinks. His DJ was playing his favorite John Legend song "Again" so he decided to go downstairs. As he got to the last step, it was like time stopped. Coming through the doors of his bar was Kalila. He was shocked and excited. He saw her before she spotted him. He watched this brown skinned goddess practically glide to the bar. "Damn! She looks better than I remember. She is wearing the hell out of that dress," Max thought while watching her. His eyes roamed from the top of her head all the way down to her shoes. Kalila was a curvy woman, just the way Max liked women. "Alright, calm down," he says to himself.
Max walked quickly to the bar. He didn't want Kalila to have a chance to leave. He needed to see her face, hear her voice. Before he knew it, he was two steps behind her. Kalila was ordering her drink. "Hi, can I get a glass of Pinot Grigio. Thank you," she told Maia the bartender. "Paige, Kalila's drink is on the house," Max said. Kalila felt herself get warm all over. "He's here," she screamed internally. Composing herself, she turned to see the face that was haunting her in her dreams lately. With a bright smile, she says "Well, hello Max. How are you?" His smile is as big as hers. He replied "I am so much better now that you are here, Kalila." There was no pretense here. Both of them were feeling the exact same emotion: pure happiness. She thinks "He looks great. I forgot how fine he was." "You know I thought I imagined you. I mean, I had no prove since the pretty lady never called me," he states. She blushes and drops her head. Her right hand sweeps her hair behind her ear. This was a habit that she didn't realize she did. "Max, I am sorry it took me so long to contact you. I wanted to before tonight but life got a little messy." she says. "Here's your wine and your scotch, Max" Paige says. Kalila turns to grab her glass and hand Max his. Their fingers touch and it's magnetic. They both feel it. Both look up at the same moment. Staring deep into each others eyes, they smile. Max wanted her undivided attention. "I'd really love to have a conversation with you where I didn't have to shout. Would you please come upstairs to my office?" he asks as he extends his left hand. Kalila, throwing caution to the wind, takes his hand.
He leads her to the stairs and then lets her go up first. Kalila thinks "He could be a perfect gentlemen or he could he watching my ass." Either way, she makes sure there is an extra wiggle in her walk. Max is trying not to watch her butt ascend up the wood stairs but its hard not to. "She has to be doing this on purpose," he thinks and smiles. When they reach the top of the stairs, Max passes in front of her to show her where to go. He slightly brushes against front of her. He hears her as she quietly gasps. He takes her hand to lead her down the to the office. He pushes the door open for her to enter first. "This is it. Please come in." "Thank you." She thinks "This is def a masculine office." The office was decorated in shades of brown, burgundy and gold accents. The floor and desk are both made of a Brazilian cherry wood. It was gorgeous. There are two brown leather chairs in front of the desk and also a sofa against one wall. In front of the desk was a window that took up the whole wall. It overlooked the bar. Kalila was impressed. "This is a gorgeous office, Max." "Thanks. I cannot lie, I only picked colors. My sister-in-law did all of this." "She is great at it." "Have a seat." She sits on the sofa and he sits next to her. "I want to explain the big delay to you. You know the night we met I was waiting for my boyfriend. He is now my ex but that took some doing." "I understand and it's cool. I'm just glad you're here with me at this exact moment, Kalila." She blushes and smiles. "You can call me Lila. I come from a family full of K named kids," she says while laughing. "Ok, Lila. I love nicknames. I kinda had to with a name like Maximus. I've always been Max." "I think Maximus is a very regal name." He smiles "thank you."
The conversation flows so easily between Max and Kalila. It's like they were miles away from the dark bar downstairs. There is laughter and drinking. But, there is also a genuine connection here. He is 37, unmarried and no kids. She is 35, unmarried with no kids. They both loved art and appreciated the work of Frida Kahlo. They loved music. He was a jazz and hip hop guy. She was an R&B and alternative girl. They were both the babies of their families. He had an older brother and sister. She has a older brother and 2 (twin) sisters. He's a southern guy, she a west coast bay baby. Both ended up in Atlanta purely by circumstance but both loved their adopted home. Before they knew it, they had talked for hours. Max glanced at the clock and realized the time. He reaches for her hand and looks deep into her eyes and says"Oh wow, it's 4:30 and I have keep you way too long, Lila. But, spending this time with you has been worth it." "The feeling is mutual," Kalila replies. She takes out her business card and writes her cell number on the back. She hands the card to Max. "Now, you have my number so you can call me." He grins and looks down at the card. "I def will use it. Would you please do me the honor of going to dinner with me tomorrow night, Lila?" She looks into his handsome brown face and answers "Yes" without hesitation.